Colombia Peace Alert: Peace Unsustainable as Long as Traffic of Narcotics Exists (S)
The Colombian government today warned the international community that the Colombian peace process will be unsustainable as long as some 200,000 hectares are planted with coca, an essential raw material for producing cocaine that supplies the gigantic consumer markets in the United States and an Illicit crop for some 82 thousand families of this South American country.
The warning was raised Monday by Colombian Rafael Pardo, Colombia’s High Adviser for Postconflict, Human Rights and Security of the Government of Colombia, before the 60th session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs of the United Nations in Vienna.
“As long as there is a coca plant or a coca bush, someone is going to buy the leaves, someone is going to process them into cocaine and that someone is part of an armed group, an illegal group or a cartel. So reducing the area of coca is fundamental for the sustainability of peace,” he said.
“Substitution is priority. The priority is to seek substitution agreements with peasant organizations. When agreements are either not achieved, do not work, or fail, that’s when the process of forced eradication starts,” he said, calculating that some 82,000 Colombian families grow coca.
“According to official figures, eradication policies reduced the spread of coca leaf crops in Colombia from about 180,000 hectares in 2000 to 90,000 in 2002 and to 40,000 in 2010, but aerial spraying was suspended in 2014. There was a new increase, reaching almost 200 thousand in 2016.
Under this scenario, Colombia expects yet another increase in cocaine production, with some 2, 400 tons in 2017, compared to 1,700 in 2016 and 1,200 in 2015. El Universal